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Youngsters lack commitment: Acosta
Leading ballet star Carlos Acosta has warned that young people have too many distractions and lack the commitment to produce his successor as a world-leading figurehead for dance.
The Cuban, also an accomplished choreographer, blamed gadgets and watching endless movies for sapping a generation of their motivation to succeed and work hard.
In an interview with the Christmas edition of Radio Times, he said: "With phones, computer games and DVDs kids are always distracted, always entertained.
"If you have so many other things to help you make it through life, why try hard to achieve anything? In the new generation the passion and the commitment has diminished.
"Everything has to be easy. And ballet is very, very hard," said Acosta, who will be seen in the Royal Ballet's performance of Don Quixote to be screened on BBC4.
The 40-year-old embraced dance as a way out of his impoverished childhood after his father saw it as a way out of trouble.
" I didn't want to be a ballet dancer! I thought it was for girls. But one day I saw the National Ballet of Cuba and that changed my life. The main guy jumped so high and could carry the women in the air with one hand! I was 13 years old and I thought, 'Wow - I want to do that.'"
And he says he will bow out after one further season in classical dance because of the increasing strain on his body as he ages, although he will continue with contemporary dance.
"It will be sad for some people and it will definitely be sad for me, but I have to be positive. I'm still going to be performing, because when the curtain goes up, I feel like a lion unleashed from his cage."
The full interview is in the new edition of Radio Times which is on sale today.